Wine Stopper progress!

Really loving the progress I’ve been making on the wine stoppers lately! I’ve got three samples already through glazing (very cool little things), two more working toward leather-hard for some shaping, one waiting for glaze, and two waiting for the glaze kiln.

On top of that, I finally found stopper blanks that I like. :) It was a tough process – most of the stoppers seem to be created for wood turners, so they have a threaded bolt coming off the top. Most of them are also made cheaply – plated with chrome – and come with warnings that they can’t be left on a bottle for too long because they’ll start to flake and pit. Um… yeah – sorry, not going to put a warning like that on things I make. (“Please don’t like me enough to use me for more than a day or two at a time. I might self-destruct.”) So, I’m going with stoppers from Torne-Lignum. I spoke with the woman for a while on the phone – she was similarly frustrated with the options available, took one of the cheap ones to a local metal shop and said “make me these out of stainless?” I’ll be going with the #303 stoppers:
#303 flat-topped stainless-steel stopper
Best part – called last night, and they should be here tomorrow! Can’t wait.

I’ve also been looking for a better way to glaze these. They’re very small, very ornate, and very breakable. I’ve been feeling bad about having such finicky little breakable things for the studio assistants. They’ve done a great job so far – all of them have survived – but if I want to make a lot of these, I need to come up with a better way. Enter, E-series kiln stilts:
E-series kiln stilts
I ordered the stilts through Vermont Ceramics Supply down in Rutland – I don’t think they normally do much shipping to individuals (don’t take credit cards). I’d prefer working with a local shop though, and the studio I work with uses VCS, so I talked ’em into it. They might not exactly match the picture, but they should do the trick.

I’ll make a hole up into the base of the stopper, and when going into the kilns, I’ll sit them each on top of their own stilt. That should make them easier to move around, and allow me to wrap the glaze around onto the bottom (which I’ve been avoiding to keep them from sticking to the kiln shelves.)

Psyched! Once I’ve finally got a few completely finished, I’ll make up a nice stand, some business cards from Moo.com, and swing by a certain local wine shop whose owners I know to see what they think.

Personally, I know I’ll be keeping a few for myself…

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